How Many Troops in Afghanistan?

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I’m confused.  This is from the LA Times last month:

U.S. officials are planning to add as many as 14,000 combat troops to the American force in Afghanistan by sending home support units and replacing them with “trigger-pullers,” Defense officials say….Services performed by troops that are no longer considered crucial could be outsourced to contractors or eliminated, officials said.

And this is from the Washington Post today:

President Obama announced in March that he would be sending 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. But in an unannounced move, the White House has also authorized — and the Pentagon is deploying — at least 13,000 troops beyond that number, according to defense officials. The additional troops are primarily support forces, including engineers, medical personnel, intelligence experts and military police….”Obama authorized the whole thing. The only thing you saw announced in a press release was the 21,000,” said another defense official familiar with the troop-approval process.

So the Pentagon is pulling out 14,000 support troops and replacing them with combat troops, and then they’re sending over 13,000 new support troops to help out all the combat troops.

That can’t possibly be right, can it?  Perhaps Julian Barnes and Ann Scott Tyson could get together and write a joint story clearing this up.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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